September 25, 2016

Story of Bug and Debug in Computer Programming

While reading the The Innovators - How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, Chapter 3 deals with the History of Programming.

Most of the programmers find the word "bug" dreadful - as it means the software needs to be reprogrammed as it is not meeting the requirements.

Here's the story of how the term "bug" made its way into Programming.

A Little Background:

One of the initial programmers in the history of Computer Programming was Grace Hopper.

Hopper worked on Mark - I (A Computing Machine) at Harvard University, and later on Mark - II.

She was writing programs for the computing machines and also perfected the practice of subroutines, which is norm now in computer programming. Those were the days when new instructions were submitted via punched paper tape.

The Story of Bug:

Walter Isaacson writes:

In addition, her [Hopper's] crew helped to popularize the terms bug and debugging. The Mark II version of the Harvard Computer was in a building without window screens. One night the machine conked out, and the crew began looking for the problem. They found a moth with a wingspan of four inches that had gotten smashed in one of the electromechanical relays. It was retrieved and pasted into the log book with Scotch tape. "Panel F (moth) in relay," the entry noted. "First actual case of bug being found." From then on, they referred to ferreting out glitches as "debugging the machine."

September 13, 2016

Why This Book Should Be Made Compulsory In Engineering Colleges

A new book arrived at the small library we have at my workplace.

The Innovators - How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution  by Walter Isaacson.

Isaacson is the same guy who wrote Steve Jobs.

I issued the book from the library and have started reading.

In the first chapter, the writer introduces us that how the Digital world changed over time and how initial innovators of the age brought the changes that we have adapted to.

 I've been a teacher (Assistant Professor) in a few Engineering Colleges of Gujarat in my previous jobs, teaching subjects related to Computers and Information Technology.

And I found that as teachers we had very little time to teach the history of Computers and Internet.

As a result, the students never went into the amazing history of this Digital Revolution.

All they're concerned with cramming the Digital Circuits and a few Programs in different computer languages to be asked in the exams.

Students never come to know how all these technologies and innovations came into existence.

The little history they read in their first year is too dry and boring.

Instead, students should be made aware of the history with the help of fascinating stories - either in the form of book or videos.

And this is where "The Innovators" bridges the gap. A book written in a narrative style, as if you're reading a story.

Here's an excerpt from the first chapter (on the most used word these days: INNOVATION) :
We talk so much about innovation these days that it has become a buzzword, drained of clear meaning. So in this book I set out to report on how innovation actually happens in the real world. How did the most imaginative innovators of our time turn disruptive ideas into realities?
These days students are forced to do innovative projects for their final year projects.

But innovation cannot happen just with the intention of passing the exams and submitting project reports. It requires passion and thorough understanding of the underlying technological problems.

Students and Faculties should understand the underlying forces that brought the innovations these innovators made.

Another small excerpt from the first chapter:
[In this book] I also explore the social and cultural forces that provide the atmosphere for innovation. For the birth of digital age, this included a research ecosystem that was nurtured by government spending and managed by a military-industrial-academic collaboration. Intersecting with that was a loose alliance of community organizers, communal-minded hippies, do-it-yourself hobbyists, and homebrew hackers, most of whom were suspicious of centralized authority.
Finally, the author cites the example of one of the most brilliant innovators of Digital Age: Steve Jobs. He explains how the truest creativity spurs from those who could connect arts and sciences.

Innovation requires connecting the big ideas from the big disciplines. [Must Read: Creating a Lattice Work of Mental Model]

Here's an excerpt from the book:
Finally, I was struck by how the truest creativity of the digital age came from those who were able to connect the arts and sciences. They believed that beauty mattered. "I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics," Jobs told me when I embarked on his biography. "Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that's what I wanted to do." The people who were comfortable at this humanities-technology intersection helped to create the human-machine symbiosis this is at the core of this story.

And based on above paragraph, the writer narrates the first story of a lady who understood the romance of poetry and intersected the romance of math and machinery.

I rest the post here with a request to all teachers to read this book and tell the stories to students. And dear students, read the book and get inspired to INNOVATE.

  

September 8, 2016

We Have Lost Touch With Humanity

I was reading Robin Sharma's - "Who Will Cry When You Die?". Love reading the book because I can start reading from any page. And each small lesson of these little book provides food for thought.

I read this book whenever I'm short of time, but want to read. It is great.

A small excerpt from the very first lesson of the book:

We can fire a missile across the world with pinpoint accuracy, but we have trouble keeping a date with our children to go to the library. We have e-mail, fax machines and digital phones so that we can stay connected and yet we live in a time where human beings have never been less connected. We have lost touch with our humanity. We have lost touch with our purpose. We have lost sight of the things that matter the most.
Isn't it worth pondering? We're busy checking our phones and emails every 5 minutes but we forget to check our purpose, our goals and our family members. We continuously try to refresh our news feed on Facebook and Twitter, but we don't have time to refresh our monotonous and clutter-filled lives.

And as Robin Sharma asks us respectfully:

Who will cry when you die? How many lives will you touch while you have the privilege to walk this planet? What impact will your life have on the generations that follow you? And what legacy will you leave behind after you have taken your last breath?

So as Robin suggests: We need to find our "calling" - our purpose in life. How you'd like to be remembered? And engage ourselves into some worthy pursuits. A unique purpose awaits us for which God has sent us on earth.

Tip: Disconnect To Connect

September 7, 2016

How I Wish I Could Be That Same School Going Kid

Last Friday I'd a small surgery (which turned out to be a little lengthy one.) Lasted for almost 3 hours.

I took a few days off after the surgery. Will be going to office from tomorrow.

I've been away from my mobile phone as much as possible these few days. And I feel that mobile phones have really robbed the simple pleasures of our lives. And also rob our precious time.

I've almost started hating mobile phones/tablets/laptops - anything that distracts my mind with utter nonsense stuff (FB, Whatsapp, Messages, etc.)

While being away from my mobile phone I was thinking that we've missed so much just after phones and Internet came in our life.

First it was the TV that invaded our personal lives and thoughts, and now its the phone and Internet.

I somewhat cried and missed my old school days.

Days when I had ample of time to play, read, study and still attend mandatory time-consuming things like school and coaching.

I had so much of time to do all the things I wished. It was a carefree life.

The thing is - life is still the same.

It's just that we have made it complicated.

And the tragedy of our life today is that we let die us inside of us while we live.

We have allowed these electronic devices to invade our lives and our personal space. In turn, we are getting more distracted, our concentration span is decreasing and we are constantly running short of time.

I would urge my readers to think over it and enjoy life without making it complicated.

August 31, 2016

10 Things To Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down

I'd been for a doctor's consultation in Ahmedabad today. While I was going to Ahmedabad, it wasn't raining. While returning back to Gandhinagar, it started raining.

It was pitch dark and the visibility was less due to the heavy downpour. And then a bad idea came to my mind. What if my vehicle breaks down at this moment ?

So I got my topic for 10 ideas.

Here are 10 things to do when your vehicle breaks down:

  1. Enjoy the rain and forget about going home.
  2. Park your vehicle at some safe place and ask for a lift/free ride.
  3. Call a taxi.
  4. Call a friend.
  5. Walk up to your home.
  6. Stay at the same place the whole night and observe the nature and the surroundings. A bad idea but it would definitely be an adventure. ;-)
  7. Try to repair the vehicle. 
  8. Call a mechanic.
  9. Stop a truck and carry it to your place.
  10. Leave your vehicle and buy a new one. Very bad idea ;-)

August 30, 2016

10 Things I Would Love To Do To Improve My Physical Stamina

Here's another list of 10 ideas. Things I'd love to do to improve my physical stamina and in turn, be in good shape.

  1. Running - with a target of up to 5 kilometers.
  2. Pranayam - start with Anulom-Vilom and then Bhastrika. This would also help me in clearing my nose. Start with 10 complete cycles of Anulom-Vilom and increase it to 20.
  3. Yog - start with a few basic that I'd learned during a Yog-Shibir long time back.
  4. Stretching exercies - I learned when I was playing Badminton.
  5. Surya Namaskar - In case, I've less time for any other exercise, I'd love to do this at least.
  6. Cycling - Luckily Gandhinagar is having cycle stores at regular intervals.
  7. Swimming - During summers. I loved during my school days. However, I could not continue it later on.
  8. Badminton - A game I love to play
  9. Table Tennis
  10. Brisk Walking

August 29, 2016

10 Blog Posts I Would Like To Write

Here's a list of 10 blog posts that I would like to write:

  1. About James Altucher and his 10 Ideas a Day Practice. (After all, this blog post itself is generated from his 10 Ideas thing)
  2. People whom I admire and from whom I've learned. 
  3. Why I've started to hate my cellphone and the social network apps.
  4. Changes I would like to bring in my life.
  5. About my fears.
  6. 10 books I've loved till date.
  7. Books I would like to write.
  8. Different career aspirations I'd since my childhood.
  9. My affinity towards Pens and list of Pens I've used.
  10. Why I dislike weight-lifting and why I like Yog and Pranayam. 

August 19, 2016

How To Be Productive

I like to read blogs on productivity and minimalism. These two words have caught my fancy since many months.

I came across a piece written by Charles Assisi. I've been reading him ever since he was the editor at Chip (India).

We all strive to achieve many things in life and still we always feel short of it. We create To Do Lists, create time table and yet we fail. Fail to do what we really want to do.

Our lives are so jam-packed that we fail to recognize how time flies. We fail to make use of all the time we have at our disposal in an optimum way.

Charles finds the answers to the above questions from an online course on productivity by Farnam Street Blog. Shane Parish, who conducts the course asks a few questions: "Why do you want to be more productive? What is your intent? What do you want to do with more time?"
And the answer to above questions as per Parish is: We fail because we don't know what to do with the extra time.

Also there's the Parkinson's law which states: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

So what's the solution to be more productive?
  1. Read a lot
  2. Learn a lot
  3. Schedule ruthlessly
  4. Practice Getting Things Done (GTD)
Read the article in detail over here.

August 4, 2016

Most Viewed Writer On Quora For Internet Addiction

With just a span of few months and with just 3 answers, I'm one of the Most Viewed Writer on Quora for Internet Addiction.

Here's a snapshot:


Link of my quora answers for Internet Addiction.



July 31, 2016

Writing With Hand

Ever since I've finished my college education, I've missed writing. Writing with hand. Sometimes it seems ages that I'd written a page or two.

I'm very much fond of writing on paper. Most of my work is done by writing on the keyboard. And as a result, I miss the feel of using a pen and writing in cursive on a plain sheet of paper.

Recently I'd to write a lot while we were being imparted with in-house training in the company. I found that I've lost the speed and the ease with which I used to write. Even my hand started paining after writing a few lines. We had an exam after the completion of the training and I was the last one to finish. I scribbled until the examiner came to my desk. I'd many thoughts in my mind, but my hand could not cope up with the thoughts.

I used to write my thoughts on paper sometimes and then would again type it out and publish on the blog. But that practice gradually disappeared. Now, most of my blog posts (including this) are directly typed onto the keyboard.

I miss the days when in school and college we had to finish our homework by writing with pencil and then pen.

There are benefits of writing with pen and paper. It can act as a personal productivity tool. It helps in concentrating on your thoughts and there's no one between you and your thoughts. Also, writing with hand is better when your thoughts are flowing at high speed. At least, I can't cope up with the speed of the thoughts while I'm typing. At such times, writing with pen and paper is the optimal way.

So, I'll try to write at least a page a day using pen and paper.

July 19, 2016

Awaken The Guru Within Us

It's Guru Purnima today - a day when we express our gratitude to our academic as well as spiritual teachers (guru's).

But we all forget that there's also one guru within us which is always ready to help us and guide us. He knows all our faults and weaknesses which even our academic or spiritual guru's might not be knowing.

The word Guru is derived from two Sanskrit words: gu means darkness or ignorance and ru means the remover of darkness. Hence a guru is one who enlightens us.

The guru I'm pointing to is our inner voice - the one which resides within us.

We are so busy in the outer world that we have forgotten to listen his voice. And, in turn, we are misguided, or feel shallowness in our lives.

As per our Indian tradition we always bow down to, pay respect and obey to our guru's preaching, we also need to pay attention to the preaching of our own guru - the guru within us.

Listening to our own guru promotes self-development and maintains our inner peace.

What we need is to contact our real self and bring out the real transformation in our life.

So, we'll should (including me) start listening more to our inner guru and obey his preaching to transform our life.

Here are a few tips that I've found useful which helps in communicating with our inner-self:
  1. Practice solitude: Only if you're alone, you'll be able to communicate with your self. It is important to get away from all the noise and clutter of our life. Go to a quiet place like a garden, library, temple, etc. where no one can disturb you and start introspecting.
  2. Switch off your mobile: These days we are most disturbed with this communicating device. It plays havoc with our inner communication. Tip: Disconnect to Connect
  3. Write out: Writing out your problems clears your mind which in turn helps in getting more inputs and solutions from our inner-self.
  4. Meditate: Meditation helps in calming down our senses. Hence we can concentrate more and hence it opens our mind for suggestions.
Happy Guru Purnima.

July 15, 2016

Learning is Life Long

I'd a training session at my office for 5 days. One thing I noticed that the trainer everyday emphasized on one thing: Learning.

He'd make us learn different topics by exercises and workshops and after each training he'd make us learn a few things by describing on what we did right and what we did wrong.

I liked his approach of making us learn valuable topics.

The thing that caught my mind was his emphasis on learning - learning everyday. He used this term frequently and was quite positive on the results.

I'd like to quote Leonardo da Vinci:
Learning never exhausts the mind.
Sometime back I was afraid of learning as I need to change gears for learning. But now I'm charged and open to learning.

July 9, 2016

Waking Up To A Pleasant Morning

My alarm buzzed on my iPhone. And I made it snooze immediately. It rang again after a few minutes.

After shutting off the alarm, while still lying on the bed with eyes closed, I realized that each time the alarm rings it gives a panic thought like “I’d be late for office”, “I won’t have time for breakfast”, etc.

On further introspection, I found that such panic thoughts are not good for a beautiful morning. It creates a negative mindset right from the time we get up. And it has a spiraling effect for the whole day.

Instead, our mornings should be pleasant and without any kind of fear, stress, or negative vibes.

Now the question is – How to make the morning pleasant?

So to make my mornings pleasant, I need to do something that elates me, something that calms my mind or excites my mind instead of sending it into the panic or stress mode.

One thing that I really like is listening to music or reading. Reading something positive - maybe some self-help books and not the newspapers filled with negativity.

Or maybe just stand out in the balcony and feel the fresh air.

Or maybe get some exercise or do yoga.
The point is that I need to refrain myself from checking my phone for Whatsapp Messages or for Email because it is not at all a good way to start your morning.

One more thing for making my mornings pleasant is to get up a little earlier. Because the panic mode starts as soon as you think you'll be late. So to avoid this, I'll get up early by half-an-hour to start with.

Whatever I do, I’d try to make my mood better and positive to take on the day.

Let’s see how it turns out tomorrow.

June 23, 2016

First Step Towards Self-Development

Off lately I’ve been constantly thinking and reading about self-development. A topic that I’d read for years while in school and college, but then I totally forgot about it.

A few blogs that I read, my own life, and the random thoughts that strike my mind enforced me to think about my own development.

I observed that I was so engrossed in the outer world. I had forgotten to talk to myself. To think about me.

These days we all are so busy with our mobile phones and the “notification world”, be it email, blogs, twitter, facebook, Instagram, etc., that we’ve totally forgotten our own world. A world where we can be alone and at peace.

Mobile phones have distracted human beings a lot. I can’t comment on all of them, to what extent they are distracted, and whether everyone feels the same or not.

We are constantly distracted by notifications. This constant supply of information in the form of Social Media, News, Blogs or Whatsapp is continuously depleting our concentration.

Our mind shuffles from one thing to another.

For example, while I’m writing this my mind at the background is working in listening mode, as if it is a Web Server waiting for a client’s request. It is constantly thinking of notification which might arrive, either on my mobile or on my email client or through phone call.

With this explosion of internet amongst the masses, we are constantly consuming information in titbits. But most of this information is all clutter. We’re reading stuff that is not at all important to us. And it clogs our mind, depleting our mental energy to think and analyse.

What we require is “Focus”.

Tip: Stay Focused with this little Google Chrome Extension

Focus on the task at hand without letting our minds waiver here and there.

And the only way is to keep our mobile phones on silent mode or better switch it off.

Coming to the point of self-development, my above observations have led me to delete Facebook App from my iPhone. It’s being almost a week that I’ve deleted and am quite happy.

Now I read books on the Kindle App or Questions and Answers on Quora.

No more updating statuses or no more reading the stuff that is not at all important for me. I don’t care who is watching which movie, who is with whom and who is feeling what.

All I care is about me and my thoughts.

I am quite happy by just deleting one app.

One more thing that I’ve done is Silent all the Whatsapp Groups.

Now, my next experiment is to turn off the Internet on my mobile phone while I’m working. Or better, put my phone in Silent mode.

This is my first step towards self-development.

June 7, 2016

The Romance of Exploring Features in Mobile Phones is Vanishing

With the recent advances in mobile technology and the availability of cheaper smart phone have resulted in diminishing the charm of buying a new phone.

Today, Android smartphones are available in price range of INR 5k-50k. The only variant in these phones, for a layman, is just the hardware part. The software remains the same, except for a few updates in the version.

So the charm of exploring new features that we had in older days is slowly vanishing. These days phones are just like plug-and-play devices. You remove the Sim Card from the old device and insert it into the new. Rest everything is backed-up online.

There is no doubt that new innovations are constantly incorporated in the software as well as the hardware, but for the layman, the phone have become just a device for their daily needs, minus the romance of buying a new phone.

P.S.: This thought came to my mind after buying Xiomi Redmi Note 3 for Kiran. She just started using it without any kind of delay or reading the manual.

June 6, 2016

The Tragedy of Life


The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live. - Norman Cousins.
Read this quote on the first page of Robin Sharma's book - "Who Will Cry When You Die."

I've read this book earlier - may be from some library or from a friend's collection and since then I had planned to purchase the book. Ordered it from Amazon India, as it was available for a huge discount and received it today.

It's a book that can be read by anyone, anywhere and anytime and one can always find something good to read.

For example, the first chapter of the book asks us to "Discover Our Calling". With the constant advances in the field of science and technology, we can easily call a friend overseas but we forget to talk with ourselves. We forget what is the purpose of our life and wander ourselves the way life makes us act. A quote from the book: ".... if you don't act on life, life has a habit of acting on you."

In short, a great book that teaches the art of living.

May 20, 2016

Weather is Too Hot to Handle

The weather this year has been terribly hot. Reached 49 degrees C here in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Luckily the office is having AC so I get solace during the peak hours, but during night it gets too hot to sleep. To get some relief, I purchased a water cooler from Ahmedabad yesterday.

I hope the rain Gods arrive early.

May 2, 2016

Ahmedabad Air Show and Ahmedabad National Book Fair 2016

Thrilling Air Show at Sabarmati Riverfront - between Nehru Bridge and Gandhi Bridge. The last Air Show I had seen was in GNFC Township in 2007-2008.

Reached Ahmedabad too early - around 2 pm. And atmosphere was scorching hot. First we went to National Handloom at Ranip. And then as we had read in newspaper that the time for Air Show is 4 pm, we reached there around 3:45 pm. But then we found that the timing for Air Show is 5:30 pm. Distressed and tired of the heat, we went to McDonald's on Ashram Road.

But once the show started, it was worth all the waiting.

From there we went to Ahmedabad National Book Fair 2016. This time it is behind NID, Paldi - on Sabarmati Riverfront.

Although tired, we felt relief from heat as the book fair is air-conditioned/air-cooled. Too much rush as it was Sunday. We just glanced through the many stalls and decided to visit once again (it is till 7th May, 2016) for purchasing any books. I bought a DVD of lecture of Jay Vasavada on the topic "Vaanchan dwara vikaas". But my laptop doesn't have DVD player, so I'll have to wait for sometime to hear the lecture.

Overall it was a satisfactory day.

It was a cloudy since today morning and later while I was coming home, it started raining and stopped as soon as I reached home. :-(

April 28, 2016

Belated Happy Birthday To Me

Completed 30 years yesterday. The day was uneventful till evening. As usual I went to office and returned home in the evening. Received many wishes on Facebook, via calls and whatsapp messages.

Then I and Kiran decided to go out. Went to Agora Mall, purchased a few household things from Big Bazaar and then returned home.

After reaching home I got busy checking out whatsapp and facebook. Meanwhile Kiran called me in the dining room which was lit with candles. She had prepared a candle-light dinner. And then after dinner she gifted me a book "You're the password to my life" by Sudeep Nagarkar. I don't know about the novel (neither did she knows), but liked the title of the book. She purchased it just by looking at the title.

And then after sometime, Mahesh and Chetan came home with a cake. Another surprise. All arrangements were made by them as per Kiran's directions. We all had cake.

Thank you Kiran and all friends. Noopur too surprised me today by sending a cake. So two cakes within 12 hours. ;-)

Now let's see how this year turns out to be.

April 8, 2016

Envy the life of a villager

My workplace is on 14th floor of a huge 28 floor tower. And it overlooks a small village. We sit for lunch near the large glass windows which overlooks the village. And looking at the quiet and slow paced village life, I think that the life of a villager is far happier and less complicated as compared to that of an urban dweller. The villager is contented in his own small world. The city guy never feels contended. He is always rushing.

March 16, 2016

Academics to Corporate

So again there's a change. And such changes have been with me throughout the financial year i.e. from March 2015 to March 2016. Left SVMIT and joined (n)Code Solutions - A Division of GNFC Limited.

Left academics and joined the corporate world. I am yet to figure out whether I liked the academic field or this new corporate world. Both have their own pros and cons. But one thing that I'll surely miss from the academics is - My dear students.

Let's see what life has stored in for me.

PS: Back to Gandhinagar.

January 3, 2016

New Laptop

Finally I emptied my old Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop and started using the all new Lenovo laptop which was gifted to me by Vijaybhai on my last birthday. I had used the previous laptop for the past 7 years. It had loads of data and scattered files which needed to be backed up.

The new laptop is quite light in weight as compared to the previous one. Moreover, it came with pre-installed Windows 8.1 which I later on upgraded to Windows 10. Also I created a partition for Ubuntu.